04.04.07 - By Tim Neilson: Former Super Featherweight and Lightweight champion Diego Corrales (40-4, 33 KO’s) risks possibly ruining his career on Saturday night when he moves up two weight classes from the lightweight (135 lbs) division to the Welterweight level to fight Joshua Clottey (30-2, 19 KO’s), a very tough fighter and a legitimate contender in the welterweight division. For many, Corrales’ move to jump up two levels, skipping the super lightweight class altogether, as seen as a likely suicidal move, almost surely doomed for failure from the beginning. Even for a fighter without as many tough fights behind them, it would be a tough task to accomplish.
Article posted on 04.04.2007
However, for Corrales, 29, who has had six very tough fights in the past seven years against opponents, such as Floyd Mayweather, Joel Casamayor, and Jose Luis Castillo. In each case, Corrales took a lot of physical punishment, particularly in terms of head shots, due to his all-action style of fighting.
Even more troubling, was the fact that he only won two of the bouts, a 10th round knockout win over Castillo in May 2005, and a 12th round split decision win over Casamayor in March 2004. However, Corrales hasn’t won a bout since his victory over Castillo in 2005, and lost his last two bouts coming into Saturday’s fight with Clottey.
Mostly, Corrales, who is 5’11,” is blaming the losses on his having to starve himself to make the lightweight (135 lbs) limit, which had become harder and harder for him to do in recent years. In fact, he failed to make weight for his lightweight title defense with Casamayor in 2004, causing him to be stripped of his title. Perhaps, Corrales has a point, because he’s certainly looked weak and listless ever since his exciting 10th round knockout victory over Castillo in May 2005.
It’s unclear, however, whether he’ll be able to carry the extra 12 pounds without slowing down and becoming more stationary, giving Clottey more chances to land shots. Another problem, possibly not for seen by Clottey, is that he will no longer have a large size advantage over his opponents like in the past. Previously, while fighting in the lightweight division, his 5’11” size made him tower over most of his much shorter opponents. Unfortunately, that won’t be the case in the welterweight division, where he will be more or less, an average sized fighter, thus completely taking away his former size advantage. Luckily for Corrales, though, he’ll have three inch height advantage over Clottey on Saturday, for what it’s worth. However, with an opponent like Clottey, his natural size and power, quickly cancels out any size advantage that Corrales has going into this bout.
One wonders what was going through Corrales’ head when he decided on Clottey, 30, a former native of Ghana and now living in Bronx, New York, as a choice for his first bout at welterweight. Clearly, if he had done any looking into Clottey’s career, he would have seen that he was well on his way to defeating Antonio Margarito, until injuring his hand, in his last bout. Previous to that, Clottey defeated Richard Gutierrez, one of the best prospects in the welterweight division, winning a 12-round majority decision in July 2006. Further back in his career, in November 1999, Clottey was on the verge of beating Carlos Baldomir, when the bout was stopped in the 11th round due to a head butt thrown by Clottey. Arguably, Clottey one of the top welterweight’s in the division, and could very well be a champion in the near future, barring any further injury problems that he experienced in his last bout.
In terms of the fight, I see Corrales losing if he decides to trade with Clottey, as is his custom. He’s certainly has better boxing skills the Clottey, but the problem is, he rarely uses them, often choosing to slug instead.